Tag Archives: friesen press

How Should I Price My New Book?

5 Apr
Gare Metz. Credit: Archimatth, Wikipedia.org ("book store")

Gare Metz. Credit: Archimatth, Wikipedia.org (“book store”)

 

For better or for worse, revisions to The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood are done. I doubt that the text is 100% error-free, but if it’s 99% or, better, 99.5%, that’s good enough for this first-time independent author. My friesenpress.com account manager has informed me that the next step is to identify the prices for the hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats. This sounds like a great topic for a post.

My ultimate goal with the book is to maximize sales, and thus maximize the book’s social impact. Having said this, I am not immune to author royalties, as I’d like to recover at least the ~ $10,000 investment in the book. Even better would be getting out of the rather significant personal debt hole that fighting court-ordered child abuse has put me in.

For those not familiar with my forthcoming book, it is a non-fiction work that is consistently reported to be a gripping read that compares favourably to quality fiction. It has strong elements of: autobiography, human interest, abnormal human psychology, scandal, cover up, intrigue, and fascinating new ideas. You can read more about it here, including what test readers are saying.

Having done some preliminary background digging, I’ve come up with some interesting information. First, however, this is what the default recommendations (based on page count) are on my author account page at the friesenpress.com website:

e-book: Recommended “Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price” (MSRP) was $2.99, which would net me a generous royalty of $2.10, if purchased from the friesenpress online bookstore. Any price above this at the FP bookstore nets me 70% royalties. For other online sellers, this would vary from 30% to 55% royalties. (See this link for some detailed information on e-book pricing and royalties. Generally, $2.99 appears to be the floor for the highest rates.)

paperback: Recommended MSRP is $21.99. For sales at the FP bookstore, this would net me a tidy $11.81 in royalty for each book. For normal distribution channels, this would net me a $1.76 royalty for each book sold, an order of magnitude less! The minimum MSRP is $20.49, at which my regular distribution channels sales would net me $0.00 in per-book royalty.

hard cover: Recommended MSRP is $35.99, which would net me a handsome $19.79 royalty if bought from the FP online bookstore. I feel like I am going to swoon at the very thought of such a sum! Through normal distribution channels, this drops to a $3.60 royalty per book sold. The minimum price is $32.02, at which I make a $0.00 royalty through normal distribution channels sales.

Since I make killer good royalty rates via the FP online bookstore, I can discount the price of the physical books there and still make a buck or two. However, before identifying actual prices, there is still more to consider. As it turns out, physical books don’t really matter that much for the independent author.

Kudos to blogger LindaGHill for bringing this one to my attention. Authorearnings.com describes its purpose being as “… to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.” From their superb “The 7k Report” post, I pulled the following information:

Wow. E-book is, by far, the dominate format of Amazon.com bestseller sales. Watch what happens when we look at only the top 100:

Even more Wow. The dominance of the e-book format becomes more pronounced. It was this information that lead me to conclude that physical book sales and pricing are relatively unimportant for me as a new independent author.

I should note that these data are for fiction, whereas I have written non-fiction. I suspect that physical books are more important in non-fiction, especially if the books can be reused often (e.g., cookbook), will be a frequent reference to other works, or it has some emotional / sentiment value to the reader. Thus, I temper my expectations of the e-book format a bit.

However, given such dominance, I suspect that e-book will still be the most important format for my book, but not quite to the degree of significance shown here.

For the hardcover and paperback, then, it’s a no-brainer: I’ll go with FriesenPress.com’s recommended MSRPs. I might ask for their recommendations as to the discount offered at the FP online bookstore–25%, 33%, 45%, etc.–, but this too is nothing to lose sleep over. To be honest, I do like the idea that my book will be available in physical form. Perhaps I am old-fashioned.

Next, let’s consider the Forbes online article “Mark Coker: Indie Authors Are Underpricing Their Books.” These are the main points I pulled from this article on self-published e-books:

– Free e-books “sell” the most copies (not surprisingly).

– We sell fewer e-books as the price climbs: $.99 sells more e-books than $1.99, $1.99 sells more e-books than $2.99, etc. However, absolute $$$ per book author royalty goes up with price.

– $2.99 to $5.99 is the “sweet spot” band that produces optimal indie (i.e., independent) author income.

– Lower prices have the advantage that more readers, due to greater sales volume, will get to know you and your work (i.e., may help for future books’ sales or greater social impact if that is a goal, which it is in this case).

– Best selling e-books tend to be longer ones (e.g., 120,000 words or more), contrary to “conventional” book wisdom (mine is 94,000 words, with a sequel in progress).

– Top 30 selling e-books worked out to price at between 3¢/1000 words and 5¢/1000 words. (With my 94,000 words, this would range from $2.82 to $4.70, or $2.99 to $4.99 with standard $.99 price rounding.)

– One exception was a popular novella, which, at ~40,000 words and $2.99, worked out to 8¢ to 9¢/1000

Thus, The Mirror, Book One would seem to naturally fall into the “sweet spot” band, somewhere between $2.99 and $4.99. If it’s as good as the test readers seem to be saying, then it might be able to command 9¢/1000 words, or $8.49, rounded up a few cents.

This might be feasible were I a known author. However, I suspect that, as a new author, the e-book wouldn’t necessarily sell well at that high a price. Thus, $8.49 appears to constitute a price ceiling for the e-book form of The Mirror, Book One.

Successful author Tim Ferriss recommends 99¢ to $2.99 for e-book pricing. Even more interesting is his recommendation to initially set the price to $0, to drive “sales” and build a following with feedback for the book.

Let’s say that I follow Tim’s advice and initially give away the e-book as a marketing strategy. The hardcover and paperback prices will be as per FriesenPress’s recommendations, as they won’t be driving the book’s success bus, so to speak. After the free book giveaway period, assuming that it has the desired effect, what do you think the e-book price should be set to?

Book Update: Corrected Galley Proof Received!

27 Mar
Almost looks professional! Good work, FriesenPress.com

Almost looks professional! Good work, FriesenPress.com

The corrected galley proof .pdf for The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood is back in my hands after having been emailed to me moments ago by my FriesenPress.com account manager. My decision to bring in a elance.com proofreader late in the game has delayed things, and, while I do not regret his involvement, in retrospect I should have done this much earlier in the process.

Amazing what one learns by self-publishing your first book.

My proof reader was a stickler for especially punctuation, so there were a fairly high number of tiny changes–curse those commas!–in this last and final revision round. What I have to do now is to compare the marked up version that I sent back to FP with this corrected version that I’ve just received from them, to verify that all the corrections have been properly implemented.

After this gets confirmed, we’re off to the races for a May-June release.

For those who’ve been waiting for this corrected version of the galley proof to have a coveted pre-release read of this riveting tale of scandal and intrigue, please fire me a reminder email at themirrorbooks@gmail.com or gently give me a prod here, just to ensure that I haven’t missed anyone.

I’m happy for followers to have a no-strings, IN CONFIDENCE, pre-release read. If you’re not already on the list, you have but to ask.

Cheers, everyone.

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The manuscript

2 Dec

I submitted my approved manuscript to friesenpress.com this morning.

Not having been through the book publishing experience before, I thought I might make a post of it. In my humble three months of blogging, I seem to have fallen in with a rather delightful constellation of bloggers who, in many cases, aspire to be writers for various reasons.

I hesitate to break the news to them, but if they blog, they already are writers. Still, they might find my journey of interest.

My book adventure, if I can call it that, began in the summer of 2008. After four years of research and thinking, and with a couple of false starts, I finally began writing in earnest in August 2012. The first draft took five months. What was originally intended to be a 60,000 word effort – an artificial constraint – grew to 90,000 words at the half way point.

So one book became two. Two is to follow; One was enough for the present.

The first draft was the easy part, although it took most of my vacation time, evenings, and weekends. I was a bit driven, but in a noble way. What was harder was the refining. A series of wonderful test readers provided invaluable feedback. (Note to aspiring writers – your fellow bloggers are your best friends. Take care of them, and they will repay you a thousand fold.) Not proof readers per se, but insightful individuals who could provide meaningful high level critiques of the work. Every iteration improved the manuscript and increased my confidence that what would result would be something extraordinary.

Yet what parent doesn’t love their child?

With the help of these wonderful and supportive individuals, who are in fact deserving of praise for their contributions, the manuscript reached the point where I can breath a sigh of relief: it is beyond my ability to improve upon it, however imperfect it may still be.

Thus, is was with a clean conscience and no remorse that I submitted the manuscript to my self publishing house first thing this morning.

The forecast book release is February 2014. For those who have read the various iterations of the manuscript, you’ll understand me when I say that I suspect that my life will, to some extent, irrevocably change when the book is released.

To those who would write a more substantial work, I can state from experience that perseverance, grit, and a ton of hard work are the key ingredients.

Regardless, ofttimes in life it is the journey as much as the destination that proves to be what is truly important. For those who share this journey with me, however small this recompense may be, thank you.

The maelstrom approaches. Its name? The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood.